Legal Alert How Confident Are You In Your Employment Policies? Now Is The Time To Check

Authored By THEODORE T. STORER

A New Year gives us an opportunity to create resolutions to improve ourselves.  But as a business person, there are two problems with resolutions:  (1) according to the London Independent, most resolutions are (or were) broken by January 24; and (2) the business world does not start fresh just because our Outlook calendar now says February instead of December.

With a month gone in 2014, did you have any resolutions for your business?  More precisely, how about resolutions for employment practices?  Here are a few belated employment resolutions to consider.

RESOLVE TO UPDATE YOUR EMPLOYMENT DOCUMENTS

Employment manuals and employment contracts should be reviewed.  Does your manual actually say what you want it to say?  Does it accurately describe the benefits that you actually provide?  Does it set forth the practices that you actually follow for hiring, compensation, benefits and termination?

Employers should remind supervisors to follow and to enforce policies.  A supervisor who fails to follow progressive discipline policies may have to explain at a deposition why he suddenly decided to terminate an employee when the employee received good reviews or never received a warning.

Employers with non-compete and confidentiality agreements should review them with their attorneys to make sure old forms are still enforceable due to any changes in the law and that all key employees have signed the right contract.

RESOLVE TO LEARN FROM YOUR PAST EXPERIENCES

Did you lose a key employee due to your policies or procedures?  You should update your policies or procedures to avoid losing additional important employees.

Did you have to pay unemployment compensation after terminating a troublesome employee?  You should update your policies to reflect a new reason to terminate an employee for cause.

Are you going to change your benefits in 2014?  If you haven’t already, you should notify your employees of any changes in your benefits, such as planned matching contributions to employee retirement plans or modifications to health insurance.

RESOLVE TO LEARN FROM THE MISTAKES OF OTHERS

In 2013, the Department of Labor continued to pursue employers who incorrectly pay salary to employees who should be paid hourly and receive overtime.  A back pay order could be devastating to your business.

An Allen County medical practice has been sued for firing an office worker subpoenaed for an extended jury duty.   In Indiana, this is a civil matter for wrongful termination, I.C. 33-28-5-24.3, and it can result in criminal charges against the employer.  I.C. 35-44.1-2-11.

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